The slate-clad chapel has a ceiling structure inspired by the veil

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Japanese designer Eriko Kasahara completed a riverside wedding chapel with multicolored slate skin and a glossy white interior that was inspired by a bridal veil.


St Veil’s Chapel is one of a series of indoor and outdoor ceremonial spaces offered by Humming Plaza VIP Niigata, a wedding hall complex on the south bank of the Shinano River in Niigata, Japan.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

Eriko Kasahara, who trained as an interior and furniture designer rather than an architect, used the veil many brides wear on their faces during ceremonies as a starting point for her design – adding curved stems to recreate the appearance of the draped fabric.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

“The new chapel is a clean space, where soft veils surround the holy ceremony,” she explained.

“White has been considered the religiously important color since ancient times,” she added. “The veil in particular was presented as the thing that protected a bride from an evil thing; the veil symbolized that the past life is over and is reborn to new life.”

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The slender stems were arranged in groups and fixed on both sides of the sloping ceiling of the chapel. Some sets are fastened together, while others overlap. The resulting trellis structure softens the sharp angles created by the steep slope of the roof.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

“The sail pipes form an independent structural body, separate from the skeletal structure,” Kasahara said. “When we look at it, several pieces of fabric seem to dance while floating.”

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

Behind the altar, the end wall of the chapel has a large arched window that reflects the curved shapes of the ceiling above. Offering a view of the river, this glazing is decorated with six curved metal bands.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The rest of the space has been kept as simple as possible. The walls are painted white, while the wooden benches with white cushions can be decorated with flowers.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The walls and roof of the chapel were covered with slate panels, which offer a variety of tones ranging from orange to blue. There is no protruding eaves, so the windows form the only interruptions to the seamless tiled surface.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

According to Kasahara, this material was chosen to match one of the existing buildings on the site. “It was important to keep the balance with the existing main building,” she said. “On this point, we have designed the appearance of a chapel with the presence in one volume.”

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The photography is from Nacasa & Partners.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara
Structural diagram – click to enlarge image
Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara
Section – click to enlarge image


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